eEquity, a Nordic growth investor focused on digitally enabled businesses, has together with Mandatum Asset Management (MAM) completed the ninth deal in its fourth fund through an investment in ZOO.se. The new partnership is sealed as part of a transaction encompassing almost EUR 30 million. ZOO.se is a leading retailer within pet food, products and care, selling through their own e-commerce channel and select retail locations across Sweden. Through this partnership, ZOO.se will accelerate their ambitious expansion plans, driven by online growth, strategic acquisitions and new store openings.
Originally founded by the Hulthén family in 1989, ZOO.se has been successfully run as a family business for decades. Headquartered out of their first store location in Bromma, the company has catered to pet parents with an unrelenting focus on quality and customer service. In the past few years, ZOO.se, under the leadership of Chairman and investor Christer Åberg, has accelerated its growth trajectory through online expansion and store acquisitions. The company currently runs a blossoming e-commerce channel as well as 10 pet stores throughout Sweden, with revenues of SEK 400 million supported by healthy margins.
Active in a large and fragmented market, with growth supported by many favorable tailwinds, eEquity sees great potential for ZOO.se to continue grabbing market shares in the Nordics, while greatly expanding its product assortment, online channel and customer offering. The pet sector has seen many interesting developments in the past years, not least witnessed during the pandemic, with steadily increasing levels of pet ownership. E-commerce penetration has, for long, been less mature than other retail segments, and the market is clearly moving in favour of online players. Additionally, with the “pet humanization” trend, pet parents are becoming increasingly concerned with the quality of products and services acquired for their furry family members.
The investment from eEquity and MAM will be used to realize ZOO.se’s growth plans through expansion and operational developments. Among other initiatives, ZOO.se aims to expand its geographical presence, replace its IT infrastructure, strengthen its organization, increase the share of private label sales and accelerate its online efforts in line with overall market trends and best practices in digital marketing.
Patrik Hedelin, Managing Partner at eEquity comments:
“We expect online penetration within the pet sector to increase by 200% in the coming five years. Meanwhile, ZOO.se is greatly benefited by long-term consumer trends such as increasing pet ownership and pet humanization, both of which have accelerated further during the pandemic. We see a gap in the market for a player like ZOO.se, and we look forward to challenging the current market leader in the Nordics. We are impressed by what Suzanne and Christer have built and look forward to accelerating the company’s growth towards a target of SEK 2 billion in sales.”
Christer Åberg, CEO & Chairman of ZOO.se comments:
“We have, through a structured process, sought to welcome an investor and partner that not only provides expansion capital, but also actively contributes with competence and support. We found that eEquity is the perfect partner, sharing our goals and ambitions, while giving us an active owner with leading e-commerce competence. We also see great value in gaining close access to other eEquity portfolio companies. Together, we aim to build a leading player in the Nordic market, with amazing retail locations and a best-in-class e-commerce channel. We have the ambition of being the fastest-growing player in our market and will, at a rapid speed, build a multi-billion SEK company in a flourishing market with vast opportunities and strong underlying growth. We will start the journey immediately and, as the CEO, I look forward to building the most exciting company in the pet market.”
Alexander Antas, Head of Private Equity at MAM comments:
“We look forward to becoming an active growth partner to the ZOO.se team and working closely with eEquity when expanding ZOO.se to other Nordic countries. We see great potential in continuing and enhancing ZOO.se’s strong track record of profitable growth both online and offline. We are convinced that the partnership formed following the transaction, will enable exceptional growth capabilities for ZOO.se across its markets.”
Founded in 2010, eEquity is a Private Equity firm specializing in growth investments in digitally enabled businesses and e-commerce. The ambition is to help entrepreneurs realize their goals and visions. Our portfolio companies include PriceRunner, NA-KD, iDeal of Sweden, Gordon, Sweef, Aim’n and Chimi. eEquity has led investments of over SEK 3.5 billion in 31 companies across four funds. eEquity typically invests in companies with sales between EUR 5-40 million, with an ambition to build them to over EUR 100 million in sales under profitability. The investors behind eEquity are leading family offices, European Investment Fund (“EIF”) and financial institutions. Visit www.eequity.se for more information.
ZOO.se, founded in 1989 by the Hulthén family, is a leading retailer offering pet care products and services. The company is based in Bromma, Sweden. Building on their best-in-class customer offering and product assortment, with an accelerated growth agenda emphasising e-commerce and strategic acquisitions in recent times, the company is in a stage of rapid expansion. ZOO.se has a turnover of SEK 400m with healthy margins and a rapid growth pace. Visit www.zoo.se for more information.
About Mandatum Asset Management
Mandatum Asset Management (MAM) is the asset management arm of the Sampo Group, a significant Nordic insurance group. MAM offers discretionary and consultative asset management for institutional and other professional investors and manages investment products within its core areas of equities, credit and alternatives. MAM was formed in 2021 when the management of Sampo’s proprietary balance sheet and client assets and investment organisations of Sampo Plc and Mandatum Life were transferred to MAM. MAM currently manages €24 billion in client and balance sheet assets. Mandatum Asset Management’s Private Equity arm (“MAM PE”) is a Finnish private equity investor focusing on significant minority investments in Nordic growth companies with proven business models. During its ownership MAM PE functions as an active partner to the management, board and owners of its portfolio companies. The MAM PE team currently manages ca. EUR 350 million in direct investments into unlisted companies. Visit www.mandatumam.com for more information.
For more information, please contact
Christer Åberg, Chairman, ZOO.se
+46 703 90 61 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrik Hedelin, Managing Partner, eEquity
+46 705 45 28 89, email@example.com
Alexander Antas, Head of Private Equity, Mandatum Asset Management
+358 40 533 0986, firstname.lastname@example.org